We had another few days locked up in the house but then we were able to work only to get sent right back to the house. If I am not dying from something, then Hna. Padilla is dying... It is a vicious cycle but Heavenly Father gives us blessings here and there to keep us going! :)
Tuesday Today was my first full day of work and all I wanted to do was sing "Libre Soy" (Let It Go from Frozen in Spanish). Hna. Padilla could only roll her eyes at me the whole time. We had a fun conversation with the Bishop and his wife from Imbaya. Then we went and were visiting teaching companions with one hermana because her teaching companion went to Italy... We had a fun time. One of our recently reactivated members gave us a reference and she is awesome! Her name is Maria and she told us that she loves listening to us because we explain everything so that she can understand. She kept saying how she felt so peaceful to listen to us. We visited the F. Cacuango afterwards and they are progressing little by little. Rebeka has a brother serving a mission. She asked about my old bug bites from the coast and I explained them. She asked if I put on repellent and I told her every day. She said, "Stupid mosquitos, they do not respect repellent. Sometimes all I want to say is `Respect me!`" We almost died of laughter. We visited a less active, Silvia and her nonmember husband. It was an awesome lesson because he had a ton of questions and sat and ponder everything that we said.
Wednesday We did weekly planning, ate lunch, and then headed to have a training with Pres. Murphy. We talked about repentance and how we need to be explaining it a lot more in detail than what we have been. Out of everything that missionaries teach, the most important is repentance because we cannot progress without repentance. After training, we went to visit Silvia but her husband wasn`t home. We talked about the importance of the Book of Mormon with her so that she could explain to her husband. We visited the F. Otavalo and they only need a little bit to be considered reactivated completely! Yay!
Thursday We talked about how little by little, rules are changing in the mission. Pres. Murphy told us yesterday that our mission is at a very high level of obedience so now we are going to become a consecrated mission. It was pretty exciting to see the little changes that they are doing. It is a little hard at the same time because we have been so accustomed to Pres. and Hna. Richardson. We practiced contacting people in less than a minute. The funny thing is that I had done it that morning on our way to the meetings with two different people. We went to Quito so that I could have some dental work done then bought some really good bread from the bakery near the offices. We contacted a nice taxi driver while buying the bread and he took us to the terminal to go back to Otavalo for free. He also said that missionaries were more than welcomed to come visit him. With the help of the taxi driver, we got home at 9 instead of 11 which was really good because Hna. Padilla got really sick.
Friday We helped a less active and his semi-active wife do some yard work taking out some grass. They did not think that little gringa Hna. Duff could do it. I showed them that not all gringos are weak and uncapable of doing some yard work. We took out some sod then talked about the power of prayer. The wife said that we were an answer to her prayers. We did visits with the elders while others went contacting in our sector to help us out since we have not been able to work for the past 2 weeks. Our less active, Patricia, was out in the street waiting for us to get there. It was cute. She keeps on telling me that she is afraid that I have forgotten about her. After chatting with Patricia, we went back and finished all the lessons with F. Otavalo. They are officially reactivated! :) Yay! We then went back to Silvia and her husband and explained the BOM. He told us that he is now really excited to read the BOM because he now understands why we have it.
Saturday Hna. Padilla decided to die in the middle of a lesson. All day she was fine until we got to our second to last appointment. She started shaking with really bad chills and a high fever. I tried calling our leaders and the people we were visiting looked at me like I did not have a heart. They wanted me to take her to the emergency room but we have to have authorization. We went home and I put her to bed until I could contact the nurse. We got everything situated. Hna. Padilla rested while I set members to buy medicine.
Sunday We were only able to go to church to take the sacrament then we went home. Hna. Padilla rested all day. Our ward mission leader and young men's president came by to give her a blessing. She started feeling better in the evening. We are going to Quito on Tuesday to get her checked out by the doctor. Heavenly Father keeps watching over us by sending the members and leaders. I am very blessed to be in this sector and to be living where we chose to live.
Hope you have a great week! Keep me up to date on your lives!
It has been a really rough week for me, I will not lie. So I told you guys how I was put to rest the other weekend? Well, I have had to rest almost all week because my foot was not getting better... Let us just say that being a missionary and being locked up in the house for more than a week is BRUTAL! I am dying to go out and work!
Tuesday I woke up and could not walk without a ton of pain. It was really weird because I was walking around the day before just fine. Hna. Padilla called the nurse on me again and I was told that I had to come home every evening at 6pm until she could get me an appointment. Any missionary knows that the best time to get set appointments is 6pm and on. I was not a happy camper... We helped de-cob corn for the bishop of Imbaya. We chatted about a few of the people in the ward, ate lunch, and then headed to visit a few other people. We talked to a family about how they could put into practice the Family Proclamation to help them better their family relationship and problems. Then we had a noche de hogar with Armando and Cindy with the F. Arellano. Cindy is an inactive and Armando is investigating the church little by little. It was hilarious. First we watched a Mormon message then played a game. The game was funny because we each had a fruit and then had to say someone else`s fruit. If your fruit was said, you had to quickly say another one or the person in the middle smacked you with a pillow. We were dying of laughter. We came home to our neighbor, a member, chastizing me about my foot and how I needed to be resting... She left then came back to put a gel on my foot. It was quite the sight. Hna. Padilla afterwards said "You know when you are loved, they chastize you". Apparently I am well loved here in Imbaya.
Wednesday During our weekly planning, one of our other neighbors came banging on the door to see how my foot was doing... We had lunch with a recently married couple where the husband told us that after he returned from his mission, he asked his wife, on the first date, to be his girlfriend and to marry him... No they did not date before the mission and yes, they did get married on the date that they put. They have a super cute baby named Mahana (the girl from Johnny Lingo or whatever it is called). We read the BOM with a few oldies then did some contacting before going home. While being locked up in the house tonight, Hna. Padilla wanted me to show her how to do some make up. Now, I am no expert but I showed a little bit... Then I added a few other things like a beard and a black eye... And the Harry Potter lightning bolt... Good times...
Thursday Hna. Padilla and I had to prepare a training and let`s just say, I am not a very good trainer... We talked about how we needed to complete our "DEBER" (job) which is helping others to make commitments and to complete them. We have quite a few less actives who are progressing really well! We visited a few of them before having to go home again. We did some phone contacting and one of them had apparently moved to Guayaquil and asked when we could visit...
Friday The bus took forever to get to Quito but we made it! On a different bus from the bus terminal to the hospital, I sat next to a deaf man. He kept looking over at me so I decided to try to talk to him only to find out that he was deaf. I do not know sign language but I do know a few signs. I asked if he knew how to read and he said yes. I gave him a Family Proclamation and he kept looking over and smiling as he read. As I was getting off, I told him that his Heavenly Father loved him and he made the sign for crying while smiling. It was an amazing experience. On the way to the hospital in Quito, we ran into some other hermanas and ended up getting lunch together before having to go to the same doctor. "What can we do about my foot?" "Well, hermana, we are going to have to cut it off..." "Alright, let`s get started!" "Ummm that was not the response that I was expecting..." This was my conversation with Dr. Ramos. He was a super sassy doctor. He sent me to go get xrays of my foot and guess what! I broke my foot!... No, just kidding, I just messed up the ligaments a little bit. I was sent home with 3 days of rest, 8 days of medication, and a wrapped foot. We ended up getting home around 11pm...
Saturday Our hermana leaders showed up at the house to check up on us. They offered for next week to come work in our sector to help us out. We made lunch and cleaned the house. Hna. Padilla washed a ton of the blankets in the house. I was embroidering my blouse while she did that and one of our neighbors offered me $15 and 3 scarves for my blouse. It was pretty funny. I did Hna. Padilla`s hair then we convinced our district leader that I was going home again. The poor guy... We called him back about a half hour later to tell him it was a joke.
Sunday Heavenly Father helps us out when we cannot quite complete the task! I was really discouraged because we had not been able to work in our sector all week. I was really worried about all of our people and wanted to cry at the thought that they would feel neglected. A miracle happened! A family of inactives came that we had not visited in a month because they did not want to progress. The F. Chaves is considered completely reactivated! A recent convert brought a friend investigator! All of this probably happened because we had to give talks. I gave my first talk ever in my mission today about how we can help retain members. It was pretty rough but the members liked it. I finished embroidering the sleeves of my blouse and Hna. Padilla went through her suitcases. It was a pretty tranquil night.
Tomorrow I get to go back to work like normal! Yay! Hope you have a great week and to hear from you soon!
This week, in teaching the plan of salvation a ton, I thought about how, as missionaries, we pass through our own mini plan of salvation in two years (if one is an Elder) or a year and a half (if one is a Sister).
Before this life, we lived with our families. We did not fully understand life and how to fully enjoy the gospel. We received an opportunity to go to a place that was specially prepared for us. In this place, we would gain the title “Elder” or “Sister”, pass through many experiences, develop more faith and obedience, and help others along the way.
When we arrive, we receive someone to help us, to guide us (a Mission President and a Senior Companion). We learn more deeply about the gospel and how to really love our Savior. We create friendships and families to help us make it back. We have these experiences to grow and to learn. We are given our agency to decide how we will perform: to help others to come unto Christ or to waste our time by fighting with the rules, leaders, and the will of our Heavenly Father.
As we pass through this time in the mission field, we experience our own personal Gethsemane, as Elder Holland once said that we watch others make decisions, and sometimes, we have to suffer with them when they decide not to repent. We struggle with our companions and other missionaries. All of this is to help us to rely on the Lord, to put our trust in Him.
After all of this, we know that our lives in the mission field must come to a close. For some, it is their exact date. For others, it comes a little sooner or later depending on what is occurring at home. All missionaries come to an end of their full time missionary service, and we end up waiting for our final judgment (interviews with Mission and Stake Presidents). In our interviews, we pass through the resurrection where we take off our nametags and become our ordinary selves once more. The difference is our spirits have become stronger. To our Mission and Stake Presidents, we present our book of life (what we learned and did in the mission field). They give their “judgment”, and we receive our reward.
Our reward depends on what we did in the mission field: Did we talk to everyone we could? Did we obey every rule? Did we go the extra mile to help someone in need? Were we a good companion? Did we become more personally converted to the gospel? What is our reward? A clean conscience. Satisfaction that we helped at least one person. A greater love and appreciation for the scriptures, the leaders of the church, the gospel, and for our Savior. Spiritual growth and maturity. A lot more temporal and eternal blessings.
We pass through all of this and more, so the question is:what will you do with your mission?
This week was a little bit of a rough week. We did not get to work in our sector that much because of meeting our new president, Pres. Murphy and his wife, Hna. Padilla had a doctor`s appointment in Quito, and I was forced to take two days of rest for a foot injury... But! We had transfers this week and I get to stay in Imbaya! Yay! I was praying super hard that I would not get transferred... We will see if I can finish out my mission here. Do you think Heavenly Father will let me stay for the next 4 transfers?? ;)
Tuesday On our way to the hospital for a doctor`s appointment for Hna. Padilla, I had a mini-revelation of why I like Otavalo so much, especially Imbaya: it is a lot like Meridian. I am super close to the city but close to the countryside. It has such a good balance that I do not ever want to leave! We got to Quito a little early and ran into some other hermanas that were going to the hospital for appointments too. It was fun to catch up them. We got in to see the doctor quick and hurried back to Otavalo.
Wednesday We got to meet our new mission president and some of his family, Pres. and Hna. Richardson. They are super sweet and look a lot like the Richardsons, just Hna. Murphy is blonde. We got to meet 3 of the kids and listen to their perspectives and goals for the mission. We also got to have a one-on-one chat with Pres. Murphy. In talking to Pres. Murphy, he thought that I was training Hna. Padilla. It was pretty funny. We did some fun practices of teaching with the assistants. When we went to work, we realized that one of our recent converts completed his one year mark. He was called to be the ward missionary. That was some pretty exciting news!
Thursday We had a marshmallow fight in our district meeting... The things that we do as missionaries... Haha I love our district/zone. One of our zone leaders ended his mission so he bore his testimony. It is so weird to think about how everytime a missionary bears their testimony, that means I am one step closer to having to bear my testimony again... So weird... We visited a less active and her inlaws who just recently had a member of the family pass away. We talked about the Atonement and it was amazing the spirit you could feel. They were so grateful to listen to the message that we have to offer that they said we were more than welcome to come back anytime to share a message. We helped them move a little bit of furniture and they sent us on our way with a 2L of juice and a ton of bread each! We get fed really well here in Imbaya and Cotama. Our ward mission leader looked at us a little funny when we came to have our weekly meeting and were carrying a 2L of juice each.
Friday We helped an hermana make bracelets and then quickly ate lunch. While waiting for the bus, we got covered head to toe with dust. Here it is summer and so the wind is blowing a ton! We come home basically brown every night. We visited a few less actives and one told us that she was afraid that if we had transfers, we would forget about her (this is why we have the area book). We taught another less active of 10 years and he told us that he has not a single doubt about Joseph Smith. He was a pretty cool one to talk to.
Saturday So, story time: the other week we were walking and I kicked a huge piece of metal and cannot really walk all too well... Hna. Padilla kept telling me that she would not call the nurse then she called the nurse. I got the order for two days of rest! Ridiculous! I talked to my district leader and he gave me permission to go to the appointments that were set. It was a really sad day because our appointments fell and I was stuck at home icing my foot...
Sunday We were given the news that Otavalo is going to have another stake! Yay! And guess what it is going to be called! IMBAYA! YAY! Hahaha Hna. Padilla did a hard eye roll to that one. We sat through our usual 6 hours of church and hour and a half of ward counsels then I received a blessing from the Elders. We visited a little bit then went home so that I could ice my foot. While waiting for transfers, the earth shook a few times. Our district leader first told us that I would be going back to the coast to open a sector and that Hna. Padilla would be staying here. He hung up and then called back 5 minutes later to let us no that no one had changes in our zone... I wanted to smack him... An hermano gave me the Bible in Kechwa! Now all I need is the Book of Mormon and the Hymn book and I am all set!
Another week has come and gone here in Imbaya and Cotama. It has been quite the busy week because we have had to do a few readjustments working with both wards. Thankfully all the members and people we have been visiting have been patient with us.
Tuesday This morning, Hna. Padilla decided to glue her fingers together with super glue while fixing her shoes. She came into our study room to show me. It took a few minutes to get her fingers unstuck then bandage them up because she had taken some skin off. My companion... We have found quite a few inactives that are ready to come back to church we have been told. We visited one named Elsa (before Frozen came out...). She is doing super awesome. It just took us a while to figure out which ward she would be going to because she lives in Cotama but wants to go to Imbaya. That happens a lot here where the pèople do not want to go where they are assigned, but with Elsa, we got it all figured out. We visited one of our recent converts and she is doing tons better! She was not coming to our ward since I came but things have changed and she has started coming! Yay!
Wednesday Today was the last day of San Juan, supposedly, and there were tons of dead chickens... Apparently there is a tradition of giving chickens or something. I am not too sure because I was not really wanting to pay attention as to why there were tons of dead chickens... We visited a family who had been recently reactivated and the daughter fell asleep, snoring really loud for a 5-year old... I almost died laughing.
Thursday We visited a little 12-year old boy who was baptized two years ago but went inactive. He is super cute and a really good artist. He promised to draw me a picture. I am pretty excited for that. I have found something very effective: using Pres. Richardson`s trainings with our members. We talked about the importance of prayer, reading the scriptures, going to church, and giving service to some recently reactivated members. We learned that the dad said he did not have a testimony but this really impacted him. I know that when we do this kind of stuff everyday, we strengthen our own personal conversion. We found out that one of the member`s nonmember boyfriend will be living in our sector and is excited to keep learning about the gospel! YAY!
Friday I hit the one year mark and to celebrate, Hna. Padilla gave me a really pretty shawl and gummy bears! She is so sweet. We visited a less active that we were super close to dropping for a while. Something finally clicked and she has really opened up to us about how she wants to change and how she needs to change to be a better example for her daughters and son. It was a super powerful lesson! Ahh! Afterwards we went to Patricia, an hermana who is about to have a baby and has been promising to come to church since we started visiting her. I almost lost hope on her...
Saturday We climbed a mountain and you can see all of our sector... It is huge... The person we were going to visit was not home so we had to go down the huge mountain. We visited our young little less active but he did not want to come out at first because he was watching soccer. Soccer is seriously a religion down here in South America... I am not kidding. I feel like it is worse than football in the states... We finished the lessons with the Fam. Chaves! Now all they need is an interview to be considered reactivated! Yay! We visited another investigator and talked about faith. She was always telling us that she did not have enough faith so we read Alma 32:21. The light turned on for her and she finally understood that she did not have to have an enormous faith to keep moving forward in listening to us.
Sunday Today was just an awesome day of church! Other than the fact that I was exhausted from 6 hours of church, the miracles that happened were enough to keep me going! Fam. Chaves came to church! Patricia came to church! One of our recent converts came to church without us having to call him to come (that one was a pretty big miracle all on its own...)! Elsa came and blessed her baby! We had a noche de hogar with an hermana who was recently reactivated. It was a simple but good day!
Today, after we did our grocery shopping, we ran into some other hermanas and one yelled at me, HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMERICA!! So I say to all that are celebrating the 4th of July, HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMERICA!!! Please be safe! Have a great week! I get to meet my new mission president this Wednesday! Yay! Keep me up to date!